Introduction Transcript

In the Autumn of 1874, on West Texas soil, two worlds collided.

On one side were four American Indian tribes; on the other, the United States government. Both sought to control the Southern Plains—to let their people live out their destinies as they understood them. The ensuing conflict changed the face of the West. 

 Welcome to “Clash of Cultures: The Red River War of 1874 and ‘75.” It may be one of the most significant American wars you’ve never heard of.

Probably because it lasted only 10 months and neither side suffered heavy casualties, the Red River War was largely forgotten, its battlefields lost or languishing in obscurity. But then, in 1998, a team of archeologists under the auspices of the Texas Historical Commission began investigating six key Red River War battle sites. Over the course of five years, they discovered fighting positions and tactics, clarified timeframes, and, perhaps most important, illuminated the people—the men and women—who took part in the war and were forever changed by it.

This brief multimedia tour will share their stories with you and, wherever possible, describe how those archeological investigations have enriched our understanding of the Red River War.